A tireless voice for peace


October 12, 2002

Jimmy Carter, the 39th president of the United States (from 1977 to 1981) and 1946 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, won the Nobel Peace Prize yesterday.

Here are excerpts from articles he has written and speeches he has made, taken from the Carter Center Web site, www.cartercenter.org:

The Troubling New Face of America (Sept. 5):

Fundamental changes are taking place in the historical policies of the United States with regard to human rights, our role in the community of nations and the Middle East peace process - largely without definitive debates (except, at times, within the administration). ...

Formerly admired almost universally as the preeminent champion of human rights, our country has become the foremost target of respected international organizations concerned about these basic principles of democratic life.

We have ignored or condoned abuses in nations that support our anti-terrorism effort, while detaining American citizens as "enemy combatants," incarcerating them secretly and indefinitely without their being charged with any crime or having the right to legal counsel. ...

Belligerent and divisive voices now seem to be dominant in Washington, but they do not yet reflect final decisions of the president, Congress or the courts. It is crucial that the historical and well-founded American commitments prevail: to peace, justice, human rights, the environment and international cooperation.

Mideast Needs New Mediator (July 1):

The United States has now joined almost all other nations in accepting the basic premises of Israeli withdrawal, peace between Arab states and Israel, and a Palestinian state. This is a notable decision, but further progress is undermined by our almost undeviating approval of Israel's demands and our refusal to deal with the Palestinian leaders who are apt to be re-elected in January. The situation seems likely to fester until then, and perhaps long afterward.

The often-surprising past achievements show we cannot abandon the search for a just peace. But there cannot be another historic step without negotiation among the principal parties because any unilateral concessions are almost inconceivable. With the United States aligned today with Israel and making demands that Palestinians will not accept, other world leaders - perhaps in the Arab world, Europe or the United Nations - now need to share responsibility, as in Oslo, for the progress that must come.

The United States and Cuba: A Vision for the 21st Century (May 14):

I did not come here to interfere in Cuba's internal affairs, but to extend a hand of friendship to the Cuban people and to offer a vision of the future for our two countries and for all the Americas.

That vision includes a Cuba fully integrated into a democratic hemisphere, participating in a Free Trade Area of the Americas and with our citizens traveling without restraint to visit each other. I want a massive student exchange between our universities. I want the people of the United States and Cuba to share more than a love of baseball and wonderful music. I want us to be friends, and to respect each other.

Our two nations have been trapped in a destructive state of belligerence for 42 years, and it is time for us to change our relationship and the way we think and talk about each other. Because the United States is the most powerful nation, we should take the first step. (speech at the University of Havana)

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